Toy Soldier scales and sizes - a beginners Guide.

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OK, so you've started to collect toy or model soldiers (sensible decision that !) and you log onto ebay (even more sensible !).

And then you're faced with a problem - the "scale" part of item specifics is blank. So you look at the item description - OO/HO, 1/72, 1:32, 54mm, 10cm - almost endless variations !

Just how big is that toy or model soldier you're bidding on ?

Here are a few notes which might be of help:

  • The "normal" way of classifying size of a model or toy is in millimetres - from the head of the figure (excluding headgear) to the shoes (thus also excluding the plinth or base/stand of the figure).
  • The "standard" size of a toy or model soldier is 54mm - equivalent to about two and a quarter inches tall. This is also referred to as "1:32 scale" - one inch on the toy soldier represents thirty two inches on a real person.
  • Within this "standard" however there are minor variations.
  • French and German toy makers tended to produce their metal figures to a slightly smaller scale (and just to confuse matters even more, German makers also produced items in larger scales !).
  • Some makers of plastic toy soldiers (Starlux in France, Cherilea in the UK, Marx in America/Hong Kong) produced figures of 60mm or more in height. Elastolin of Germany went one further, producing identical figures in 70mm and 40mm scale.
  • Many current makers (Del Prado, Conte, King and Country) have also "gone large" (to use a fast-food term !) - their figures should best be thought of a "1:30" (60mm+ in scale)
  • "Flat" figures (thin tin, engraved on either one or both sides) are usually to a scale of 30mm.
  • Wargames figures (both plastic and metal) can be anything between 6mm and 30mm.They may also be listed as "OO/HO" (referring to model railway track gauges) or "1/72" (one inch of the figure represents seventy two inches of a real person).
  • "Model" soldiers (and the line between "toy" and "model" is blurring as production techniques become more advanced) may be in a multiplicity of scales- 54mm, 75mm, 85mm, 90mm and 120mm being the most popular.
  •  IF IN DOUBT - ASK THE SELLER ! (But please remember- he or she may not have read this guide so the best way to get a clear answer is not to ask "what scale" but "what height" the figure is).

Examples of most of these sizes and scales can be found on my weekly listings on ebay.co.uk.

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